Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College


  • Title: Buyer
  • Class: Classified
  • Exempt Status: Non-Exempt
  • Grade: 20

Nature and Scope of Work

Purchases specialized goods and services for departments of the College. Reviews, approves and processes purchasing requests according to applicable procedures and requirements to serve the students and staff of the College. Incumbents in this job classification assist internal customers in evaluating goods and/or services and their substitutes, and to weigh price, quality and other factors affecting purchasing decisions. This classification has routine contact with college staff, management, faculty, vendors, suppliers and publishers. Positions at this level work independently and receive limited supervision.

Principal Accountabilities (includes some or all of the following)

  1. Performs varied and specialized duties in purchasing textbooks, computer equipment and software, and printing and supplies; assures appropriate guidelines and policies are met and buying activities are within budgetary limitations.
  2. Consults with customers to determine specifications, order quantities, alternative materials, product availability and sources of supply.
  3. Evaluates goods/services, weighs price, quality and other factors affecting the purchasing decisions. Makes recommendations for substitutions.
  4. Locates, evaluates and selects sources of supply; obtains competitive bids when required. Negotiates for the best goods and services for the lowest price and best terms. Places purchase orders with vendors, suppliers and publishers.
  5. Reviews purchase requisitions submitted by staff, management and faculty for accuracy and processes these requisitions according to applicable policies and procedures.
  6. Maintains inventory levels; monitors order quantities, return policies and sales/utilization to minimize financial liability to college.
  7. Completes detailed paperwork and records; resolves problems related to shipping, receiving and billing discrepancies with customers and vendors; negotiates returns and allowances.
  8. Provides internal customer service by developing and maintaining working relationships throughout the college; identifies customer requirements and specifications; acts as a consultant to customers by advising on products and vendors and providing guidance and assistance in compiling, writing and reviewing product specifications. Informs customers about system requirements, deadlines and documentation needs.
  9. Provides external customer service by developing and maintaining working contacts with vendors; interviews prospective vendors to determine their commodity and service opportunities; provides information on College operations, purchasing policies and procedures.
  10. Maintains an awareness of new/revised products by reviewing technical developments in assigned product field; locates sources through market research, vendor interviews, trade publications and attendance at product seminars.
  11. Maintains and updates list of qualified vendors. Maintains appropriate support files to ensure compliance with college policy/procedures and or legal requirements.
  12. Monitors departmental expenditures; runs management reports.
  13. Monitors vendor performance and recommends appropriate action to ensure customer satisfaction.
  14. Performs cataloging of materials utilizing an automated system.
  15. Performs other related duties as assigned.

Work Environment

Work is performed in an office environment with periods of heavy workload pressure and interruptions. Exposure to video display terminals occurs on a regular basis.

Physical Requirements

Learned physical skill is required to perform keyboarding and/or ten-key functions. Some assignments may include management of physical inventory, necessitating moderate lifting and use of a hand truck or forklift.

Minimum Qualifications

High school diploma or equivalent; two years of training or college level course work with emphasis in Business Administration or related area and demonstrated knowledge of materials purchased and sources of supply. Experience performing the duties above may substitute for the training or college-level course work on a year-for-year basis.

Two years experience in purchasing or buying in a public institution or in a specialized field requiring technical understanding of the items being purchased. Effective human relations skills required to work with vendors and others. Basic Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivable knowledge; accurate keyboarding and 10-key skills.

Reviewed: 12/18

  • New: 3/04